The season started with alternating goalies. This was likely an effort by coach Derek Lalonde to give Alex Nedeljkovic and Ville Husso a fair shot at the top goalie spot for the Red Wings this season. The first two games were wins, with Husso shutting out Montreal and Alex Nedeljkovic picking up the win in New Jersey. Since then, the performances have not been equal between the two.
The game against the Islanders was another masterful performance from Husso in which he stopped all 24 shots to put up his second shutout of the young season. I checked the Red Wing goalie stats this year at NHL.com, and after game 11, Husso is holding a 5-1-1 record with a 1.86 GAA and a .941 save percentage.
Husso has clearly been the best goalie so far, and Octopus Thrower’s Jacob Cox wrote a great article about Husso taking the lead in the goaltender’s race. The crowd has even started calling “Huuuuuusss” when he comes up with one of his incredible saves. It has caught on to the point that the arena started putting graphics on the big screen to get the crowd together.
Alex Nedeljkovic has not fared so well in goal to begin the 2022-23 season.
The team has fallen out of the every-other-game goalie rotation, and Nedeljokvic has not been getting many starts lately. He has only started in 2 of the last six games. His stats at this are showing a 1-2-1 record with a 4.96 GAA, and a .871 save percentage. These numbers are off from his career averages of 2.96 GAA and a .907 save percentage.
The Red Wings certainly had higher expectations for him than he has shown to this point, and I still believe that he can be a goaltender that can share the top-spot responsibility with Husso. He has missed some shots that should have never gotten by him and has some work to do on his game, no doubt about it. There have also been some times when the defensive effort from the skaters has left Nedeljkovic on his own. I don’t think that his numbers reflect his play and effort level.
After a stellar start to the season, putting up a second shutout already, Husso is the clear front-runner for the Wings. Nedeljkovic needs to bring his best to this next game to keep himself in the conversation for more starts in the near future. I am curious to see how he responds to this challenge.
What are your predictions for Nedeljkovic’s performance against the Rangers? I feel he will step up and put the Wings in a good spot to win their third straight game. Let me know in the comments section below.